Grilled Sorta-Caesar with Pancetta Shrimp and Pesto Penne

Grilled Sorta-Caesar with Pancetta Shrimp and Pesto Penne
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails left on)
  • Juice of 1 lemon plus 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, 2 whole and 1 smashed and grated
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 - 4 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a couple of palmfuls)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a couple of generous handfuls)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 romaine lettuce hearts, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Preheat an outdoor grill or a grill pan to medium-high. Toss the shrimp with half the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Place a sage leaf in the cavity where the shrimp were deveined, then wrap a slice of pancetta around the shrimp and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle with a touch of EVOO and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, grated garlic, anchovy paste, mustard, hot sauce and remaining lemon juice. Pour in 1/2 cup EVOO in a slow stream, and whisk. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is working, in a food processor, pulse the 2 whole garlic cloves, lemon peel, basil, mint, parsley, tarragon and pine nuts. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup EVOO in a steady stream. Transfer the pesto to a serving dish and stir in the cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the peas and pasta and toss.

Grill the shrimp until pink, about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. Grill the romaine, turning once, until charred, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve half a romaine heart per person, alongside some shrimp and pasta. Top the romaine with the dressing and the almonds.